PvP Tip #1: Prepare for War

If you’ve been watching my stream, you know I have been playing PvP in Elder Scrolls Online non-stop (North American Server Thornblade Campaign).  It’s a part of the game that I haven’t dedicated enough time to and as part of my things to do prior to patch 1.6, it was time to jump in.  I wanted to come out with some posts about what I’ve been learning and number one is being preparing for combat with the right equipment, skills and siege.


Table of Contents

If you’re brand new to Player vs. Player (PvP) in Elder Scrolls Online, you might want to check out Party Pyro’s articles prior to jumping into this.  Cyrodiil can be considered a hostile war ground and you should treat it as such.  When I was in the military, we did a combat kit check prior to going “outside the wire.” We can implement the same type of practice for Cyrodiil to maximize our success.  My basic Combat Kit is listed below with details on how I use this equipment.


It takes Alliance Points (AP) to make AP.  When I was brand new to PvP, I often said “screw it I’m not spending my AP to siege keeps.”  That is a terrible attitude because one Flaming Oil, one Meatbag or repair kit might be the difference in a 5,000 AP defensive or offensive tick (reward).  For more information on how to use these, check out Party Pyro’s Siege Guide, but here’s a list of my general load-out.  Keep in mind, this is what I use for a typical two to three hour game play session.  You’ll need more or less depending on your allotted game time.

Flaming Oil pot for Cyrodiil PvP2x Flaming Oil | 800 AP each

Keep Defenses

+ Huge damage on personnel

– Can’t be used on flat surface

These should be setup above a breach location during a siege defense for massive damage when the enemy is breaking through.  This can make or break a defense and one person can operator two at a time thus at least two is needed on your combat kit.

Dominion Ballista Picture Cyrodiil PvP2x Dominion Ballista | 1,800 AP each

Keep assault

+ Massive damage on keeps

– High AP cost

I like to double fire these while attacking a keep so setting up two close to each other like oil pots.  The faster you get that keep down, the faster you can setup a defense.  A good substitute if you don’t have any AP is Dominion Fire Ballista for $450 gold each.  About half the damage though it’s nice for those new to PvP without AP.

Dominion Meatbag Catapult Picture2x Dominion Meatbag Catapult | 1,200 AP each

Destroying personnel (tons of usage)

+ Get artillery if you don’t want to get into the fray

– Prepare to be targeted

I truly had zero idea how powerful a well placed Meatbag can be.  Deploy these early and often in open fields, on defensive (yes they fit inside keeps) any opportunity for massive zerg, drop and pop these.  It’s the zerg killer siege weapon.

Dominion Stone Trebuchet Picture2X Dominion Stone Trebuchet | 1,800 AP each

Keep assault (inner wall)

+ Range

– Long reload

If you want to flip or take over a keep fast, having Stone Trebuchet on the outer wall while you’re raining down stones on the inner is the pro move.  Make sure to grab a couple of these for fast flips where speed is key like an unprotected keep deep in enemy territory.

Dominion Battering Ram Picture1x Dominion Battering Ram | 1,800 AP each

Keep assault

+ Massive damage on front door

– Easily countered

Rarely do you see the Battering Ram coming out in Cyrodiil these days but you should consider keeping one in your pack.  A couple of tricks is one, you can still cast spells while operating the ram.  Just stand on top of it and spam healing.  Two, you can still combine this with Dominion Ballista.  So don’t just ram the door, get more siege on it.

Keep Wall Masonry Repair Kit PictureKeep Wall Masonry Repair Kit 100x | $90 gold or 300 AP

Repairing keeps

+ Great AP after a flip

– Can rack up gold cost

Until recently, after we took control of an enemy keep (flip) I would just stand around waiting for the next thing to do.  Now I immediately rush to repair the outer wall first then the inner.  Essentially every repair is work 25 AP or so and costing $90 gold each.  It’s a decent exchange and plus you help your alliance so bring a ton of these.

Keep Door Woodwork Repair Kit PictureKeep Door Woodworker Repair Kit 50x | $90 gold or 200 AP

Repairs doors

+ Easy AP

– Often doors aren’t breached

Bring a few of these in your pack in case the enemy uses a battering ram trick to speed cap a keep.  Similar in effect as the Masonry kits, don’t just stand around repair!

Optional – There are some additional options and more complex siege strategies.  I honestly don’t know how to implement them effectively yet, so I’m not going to recommend them until I gain a better understanding.  Please leave me a comment if you know of some tricks!


Get ready to spend tons of gold for top end PvP consumables.  These truly make or break your character’s performance and can change the tide of the battle.  Downside it takes a lot of time farming materials or money to continue using these supplies.  If you want to be on top, you need to be prepared and this separates the good from the great.

Panacea of Health Tri PotPanacea of Health 100x

Defensive potions called Tri-Pots

Generally $13,000 gold per 100 (stack)

Recipe Bugloss + Columbine + Mountain Flower + Water (Clouded Mist VR 5)

This potion is a PvP equivalent to a intravenous shot of adrenaline. Every 30 seconds or so, I’m chugging these things down in the middle of a zerg to get back all three resources.  Potions do no good in your bank or while you’re dead.  Use these early and often to get an advantage.

Panacea of Spell Power PotionPanacea of Spell Power 50x

Offensive for magicka based builds (weapon one exist too)

Generally $11,000 gold per 100

Recipe Cornflower + Lady’s Smock + Water Hyacinth + Water (Clouded Mist VR 5)

When on the offensive, make sure to switch out to a spell or weapon power potion.  Seems like overkill to have some many options, but trust me, the best defensive is a good ol’ Impulse spamming ball of flame.  Chugging one of these and push the zerg back screaming “for the Queen” can break the zerg line.

Panacea of DetectionStealth Detection

Utility for preventing gankers (AKA Critborn the stream sniper)

Generally $4,000 gold per 100

Recipe Cornflower + Wormwood + Water (any can be used, same effect)

If you’re like me and stream PvP, you will inevitable acquire a “fan club,” also known as stream snipers.  Yes people will watch your stream just to find where you and attempt to kill you at inopportune times.  Put them on the defensive with some stealth detect potions (Critborn I’m talking about you).

Consummate Honey BrittleFood

Attributes buff (provisioning craft)

Generally $10,000 gold per 100

Recipe – Honey Comb, Pinguis, Salt, Garlic, Pepper

I highly recommend tri-stat food for PvP.  You need massive amounts of stamina regardless if you’re a magicka based build.  One extra dodge roll, one extra burst of sprinting and one CC break might make or break a fight.  Generally, I like 3,000 health, 2,500 main stat (magicka or stamina depending on your build) and 1,500 off stat.

Grand Soul GemSoul Gems

For resurrecting allies

Generally $10,000 gold per 100

Buy from vendors or found

Don’t be the derp who yolo’s in and dies right away (me).  If you are, hopefully your friendly alliance brings some Soul Gems.  Remember, no Forward Camps so everyone needs to pitch in on resurrections.


Fort Amol Guard DisguiseDisguise

You look like an awesome Nord

Only thing that shows is your shoulder and or head

Found from drunken soldier under a bridge near Fort Amol in Eastmarch (EP faction)

I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear a disguises.  Yes, showing off your Over Powered (OP) min maxed legendary gear is great for your ego, but fighting an enemy with no idea of your build is better.  Take every advantage you can get and find a unique outfit that fits your character.  Some others are a Goblin and Skeleton costume though I hate the sounds so I don’t use them.

Shoes of the Seducer PictureImpenetrable Gear

Craftable gear

Requires Diamond armor trait

Recommend 4-6 pieces of gear with this

Don’t go into Cyrodiil expecting to light the world on fire with no impenetrable (impen) gear on.  This increases your resistance to critical hits.  You should really try a mix of crafted and drop sets to take advantage of this trait.  Yes you’ll be missing 5 to 10 health or magicka here and there, but you’ll be saved from 2k Snipes to the face.

Blood Spawn's Guise PictureTwo-Piece Undaunted

Full Undaunted guide here

Best I’ve found is Blood Spawn’s Guise

Try a 2 (head shoulders)/5 (armor)/3 (jewelry) setup with a Master Weapon

Ultimate is the name of the game in ESO Patch 1.5.  That might all change in 1.6, but for right now, you can’t go wrong with using a proc piece like the one above.  That can be found in Spindleclutch the first boss.  Great place to practice your PvE DPS and get one of the best sets in the game.


For my full list of addons and setup, check out my YouTube video here.  Below are two addons I can’t live without in PvP.

Greymind Quick Slot Bar by bsrealm here

Greyminds Quickslot AddonThe main problem with ESO’s default UI setup is the inability to quickly swapping in and out consumables or equipment.  Thank you bsrealm for making this addon helping us quickly swappping between potions, siege, anything that can go in your quickslots.

It’s very customizable, but what I like is setting keybinds for the six most common quickslot items: defensive potion, offensive potion, stealth detect, food, Dominion Ballista, and Masonry Repair Kit.  I use a Razor mouse and I set these as 7,8,9, 0, -, = though the possibilities are near endless.  You can tailor this to your style and or game-play and use this outside of Cyrodiil as well.  Now when that key flips over, bang with one key stroke you’re repairing.

Kill Counter by mikethecoder4 here

Kill Counter AddonA great man once told me, “you only get what you measure.” Yes another cliche I know, but it makes sense. By default, ESO doesn’t really have any means to judge your performance.  Another amazing community addon is Kill Counter by mikethecoder4.  I downloaded this on my editing computer so it’s all zeros, however, it will record a running total for your entire PvP history.  So, it’s a great way to judge if you’re improving daily, monthly or by campaign.

The key numbers I pay attention to are kills/deaths (K/D), killing blows (KP) and AP gained.  Though these are pretty obvious let me explain.

  • K/D ratio – This number is a bit skewed if you’re healing as you get credit for the kills your party members provide.  On a good night with a well coordinated group, I usually hover around 10:1 (10 kills to one death).  While playing solo, a good ratio for me is 6:1.  A lot of this depends on your class, ability, gear, and the amount of hours you’ve played that character.  Either way, pay attention and try to improve this.
  • KB – Some of my builds (Frag Out specifically) are killing blow machines.  While doing mindless amounts of damage is great, finishing off enemies and being the teams executioner is just as important.   Ask yourself, am I actually killing things?  Well now you can know with Kill Counter.  On my Dragonknight, I average a lowly 1:10 or something.  My job is to get people’s attention and AoE, cause tons of chaos for my snipers in the rear.  It’s a decent average.  On a good night with my Sorcerer, I can average a 1:4 ratio.  That is very hard to achieve but will help you focus in the weak targets begging to die.
  • AP gained –  Keeping an eye AP/per hour produces urgency.  Are you in stealth sneaking around for 40 minutes just to get one kill and 400 AP?  Are you pushing the battle holding a keep deep in enemy territory 20 vs 100 (Decible Guild showed me this)?  We are at war people, get some urgency and AP is a good way to see if you’re actively contributing.

Final Checks

Now I got everything setup it’s time to do my final checks.

  • Bio – Make sure to empty that bladder.  I know it sounds funny, but every second counts and we want to maximize our time and concentration.
  • Repair Your Gear – If you’ve been doing some PvE prior, hit a vendor and repair quick.
  • Mic Check – Are you on TeamSpeak3?  You should be if you’re in a group.
  • Start Recording – You don’t want to miss your epic 1vX kills so start recording!  I use Xsplit Gamecaster and GeForce Experience to capture my videos.
  • Walk Dogs – If you know me, my dogs love to make appearances in my streams. Shepard (my huge lab/Dane mix) will not stop until he gets what he wants.  So I make sure to give him a long 30 minute walk prior.
  • Offline Mode – Yes, I even set myself to offline mode when seriously PvPing.  I love talking to people in the community, but sometimes I want full concentration and PvP is one of them.
  • DUBSTEP MUSIC – Lastly we need some epic motivation.  Dubstep is my favorite and I have my own mix on YouTube here if you want to listen to it.


I can’t stress enough how much I’m enjoying PvP.  I’m learning a lot more every day thanks to a lot of friendly and helpful community members.  Whether you’re blue, yellow, or red, get in there and enjoy this.  Nothing like ESO Cyrodiil, truly.  Time to go for Emperor soon in 2015.


  1. Miller Cook on January 5, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Lol – you have learned a lot since you began PvP’ing consistently. One additional suggestion: Send emails to yourself to enable on the fly restocking of siege equipment and such.

    How to do that?

    Use one of the addons (with a trusted friend or guildy) that auto returns emails with “Return” as the first word. Create each email with 2 stone ballistas, 1 fire ballista, 1 fire treb, 1 stone treb or whatever your recipe is titled Return Siege Restock. I also have emails with just repair material – Return Repair Restock and just oils – Return Oils Restock. Etc.

    So anywhere you are, you can restock even without a keep or outpost or resource quartermaster.

    Looking forward to working against you on Thornblade (DC Templar here). Can’t wait for 1.6 – it will level out some of the FOTM class skills. But I really wish it would build some of them up to compete as opposed to tearing some down. Ultimate will certainly be new and different.

    Keep up this great blog! Definitely enjoying it.

    • Deltia on January 5, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      That is an awesome idea thanks for sharing!

  2. Joy Division on January 5, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Great stuff as usual. As this is more a “prepare” guide than an actual “what-to-do” guide, I’ll add a few to augment Deltia’s already comprehensive list.

    You bar should reflect the reality that Cyrodiil is not a DPS race, rather it is a contest of survival. My DK loses mage light (critical now has little use in Cyordill) and instead rocks Igneous Shield (for defense) and Wall of Elements (does full damage to enemy blockers). Even something normally lackluster like the mage’s guild spell “entropy” has value in a PvP environment. Entropy does not get reflected, ignores blockers, and for you sorcerers out there, not only can proc your insta-shards, but gives them 20% damage boost as well.

    You mentioned options for additional siege strategies. Here is just some random insights:

    1. Do *not* hit the “postern” (side) door. Aim at the wall or stairs. Only main “gates” (i.e. front doors) take damage.

    2. Use regular boring Dominion/Covenant/Ebonheart Ballista vs. castles (fire does half damage). It’s by far most efficient.

    3. A healthy mix of fire ballista (damage) and meatbag catapults (healing debuff) vs enemy players and siege weapons is best. Ideally, one person uses a snare weapon (lightning ballista or oil catapult).

    4. Stone Trebuchets really should only be used to hit the inner wall vs. an undefended keep (they need to be set up right next to the wall).

    5. There is a siege merchant at every friendly resource. Go walk the 20 meters and buy some rather than standing around doing nothing during a siege.

    6. A ballista fired from a level 10 Recruit does as much damage as a ballista fired from the a VR14 Grand Overlord. Just sayin’.

  3. Zarcin on January 6, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Could not agree more, this preparation is pretty much what I do every night. Yes Cyrodiil is my second home, just wish I had more time to dedicate to it.

    The only things I do differently is carry 4 to 5 dominion ballistas. Like yourself I use 2 dominion ballista when I can however it only takes one surprise attack to drag you away and if successful you return to find them either burnt away or degraded into the ether. Pop up 2 more and keep tapping.

    I am pretty cheap too so as a magicka build I use boring old V5 stam pots dropped by mobs (farmed by alts lvling) to keep up with vamp guildies while sneaking around.

    Great suggestions from Miller (For the Queen! 😛 ) and Joy they are some brilliant tips for those new to Cyrodiil.

  4. Darlgon on January 6, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Couple of things.

    I see your quickslots on the link in Facebook by ESO, but not here. You dont need food on there. Its only slightly longer to get it out of your bag and it will last an hour (blue) or two (purple). You will want to swap faster to other stuff.

    You will want all your equipment together and always in the same quickslots. So, pots together, seige equipment together, and repair stuff. Personally, I keep my ballista and meatbags on my quickslots on bottom right, with my stone treb to the left. I swap out wood and stone repair, because I wont be using them at the same time, with stone being the more frequently used. All my pots are together on top and left.

    I have all three pots on my bar, mainly because I am cheap and have hundreds of the normal ones from landscape quests. 95% of the time, the health pots are what you need. Using the quickslot bar, holding down the “Q” button and using the mouse to select the pot, its pretty quick to swap to magic or sta if you need it.if you are running and not being hit, no need to guzzle pots, when your natural regen will cover it.

    Unless ZoS changed something, if you are under VR14, you get an autoleveled standard stat build upon entering Cyrodiil, unless you check a specific box in gameplay options, so your gear matters less if you are lower in level. But letting the enemy know you are a clothie will definitely them off for you to be a target as a healer type.

    Soul Gems.. yeah,, bout that. Buy the unfilled ones for cheap, spend two skill points in Soul Magic and get the passive that gives you a chance to fill them in your bag on a crit in combat. Or, equip the manual skill for a while and use it as a DoT to kill your enemies while you reap the beneifts if you want to rush the process. Works on mobs too. You wont have to spend the precious AP on them.

    Oh, yeah, and on Rams.. umm.. dont buy them. People 90% of the time use ballista. Let your group leader buy rams if he feels like it, as it does make for good variety in attack. A coodinated ballista attack can drop a wall in less than 3 minutes. We did it tonight.

    Thanks for the article and the link to Kill counter. I think I had it and it got out of date. Will see how it works tomorrow.

  5. Keith on January 16, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I’m very pleased to see you doing some PvP articles now – I loved all your previous build articles… but found myself completely in love with PvP after accidentally discovering it (I won’t bother explaining that statement here), and have focused on it ever since.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Folkb on March 22, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Is the gear portion of this guide still valid for 1.6+? I’m looking around to see what sort of gear/traits I need as new player to AvA and I can’t find anything.

    • Deltia on March 22, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      For the most part yes, though AvA gear is very hard to obtain for new players due to VR requirement.

  7. mr pickpockets on May 31, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    hey deltia, i’ve read over a lot of your posts and found some usefull stuff. i was wondering if you could give me a few tips for pvp. im running a similar build to your specter build at v1. im using all epic med with 4 stam 3 health and mix of impentrable and reinforced traits. 5/5 hundings dual wield/ nightsilence bow. would use diff gear but cant do to lvl and traits. i was thinking arena in the future. bow has unresist damage and dual with absorb health/stam. all nb pasives and khajit passives. in pve i can kill anything my lvl in 3 or less hits usually 1 or 2 except world bosses and most world bosses in 15 sec. and in pvp i feel like im tickling enemies. i tried scailing on and off no diff. any ideas of what i am missing?

    • Deltia on May 31, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Well you’re VR 1 and probably missing 1000 weapon power.

      • mr. pickpocket on May 31, 2015 at 10:35 pm

        without any buffs my weapon damage rating is at 1450 with crit chance at 50% whats the norm?

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